Why Taking the Name of God in Vain is a Sin

My son Matthew (aka Cow) Shea makes me so proud as he writes about this appalling spectacle:

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“‘Is that your Bible?’ a reporter yelled.
“‘It’s _a_ Bible,’ Mr. Trump responded, and hoisted up the book so reporters could see.

Putting aside the fact that he randomly attacked innocent bystanders with tear gas to clear a way to the photo op, putting aside the fact that he didn’t ask for permission to do this and just forced himself on an unwilling church that was alarmed and disgusted by this, putting aside the fact that he went from taking this picture immediately to unconstitutionally proclaiming that he was going to make the military attack American citizens, and putting aside the cheap and easy (and true) jokes about how silly he looks holding any book and specifically this book in specifically this weird way:

It just seems like now would’ve been a great moment for literally any kind of moral leadership, word of wisdom, useful parable, even just a trite and familiar passage about Being Nice™. It would have so easy for him to just do… anything. He could’ve just… tried, at all. I know that he doesn’t actually read the Bible or know anything about it, and I know that listening to him read the Bible would probably make my skin crawl and I’m probably a hypocrite about this and many other things.

But to flagrantly use it as a prop like this is so WILDLY stupid and evil. He doesn’t crack it open. He doesn’t care. Somebody asked him in the moment if that was his personal bible and his glassy-eyed response was just “It’s *a* bible.”

He doesn’t give a crap about any version or variety of Christianity or biblical teaching or strain of philosophy or moral ideal. He doesn’t even try to talk about it. This is just a costume he puts on. He is just signaling to Christians everywhere “Look, I am holding your magic item, therefore all the violence I am eager to inflict on people is also covered with the magic you like so much.” It’s embarrassing, but it’s also offensive. It is a thin shell of candied Christianity coating a putrid maggot meatball he is about to ram into all of our mouths.

*This* is taking The Lord’s name in vain. Forget cussing. He is using callous heartless violence against people in pain, the meek and the poor, and while he stands on their neck to make himself seem taller, he announces to his victims proudly: “I’m on Team God, and neither of us give a shit about you”.

Spot on. This truly is taking the Name of God in vain and reveals why it is not a mere meaningless taboo but a grave evil that injures and kills people.

Today this dimestore antichrist is at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, turning the Catholic Church into a prop. Abp. Wilton Gregory responds:

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This is good. But what I would really like to have seen was Abp. Gregory standing at the door of the shrine as Ambrose stood in the Church at Milan and forbade the Emperor to enter without doing public penance for his slaughter of the people of Thessalonica. Maybe there is some legal reason I don’t understand concerning property rights that keeps him from doing something like this (I have a dim notion that the Shrine is run by the Knights of Columbus or something, so maybe it is not technically his turf. I dunno.) But it still should have been done by whoever runs that place.

Anyway, we cannot allow the Church to be made a prop of this violent, lawless regime. You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain.

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75 Responses

  1. “It is a thin shell of candied Christianity coating a putrid maggot meatball he is about to ram into all of our mouths.”

    Oh wow, I was thinking that very thing. lol

  2. It is all about race. And not picking a side in an oppressor/oppressed dynamic is *always* to side with the oppressor. God sides with the alien, the orphan, the widow and the least of these against their oppressors. You side with the oppressor every single time. The Church teaches the Preferential Option for the Poor, not moral neutrality. Stop telling lies.

    1. @Dave G…”Christians are acting just like non-Christians.”

      Sorry, but no. They are acting just like Christians—of a certain sort. Christianity is no more a guarantee of good behavior than any other faith, or atheism for that matter, is a guarantee of bad behavior.

    2. Looking at it from across the ocean, I might be wrong about this, but I think I know what the sermon was about.
      An evil man kills a helpless person because he enjoys killing, not because of any particular race or another trait.
      It’s because that man doesn’t want to get in trouble is why he’s targeting blacks. It won’t get him in trouble, or at least it will cause less trouble for him. It’s totally immoral, calculated evil.

      Making this about race leads down the same rabbit hole as it always does. There will be some mourning, some politician will build a career on this. If there’s a debate about anything, it’s going to be dominated by topics that have been discussed to death and leading to exactly the same conclusion and not convincing anyone.

      Making this about race is a very convenient shortcut for some that avoids looking at the core of the issue at hand. Eventually, racism will be redirected at another minority. The killer will just target that vulnerable group.

      See what is happening in South Africa. Sure some people are glad that the tables have turned and whites are now being murdered in cold blood, ousted from their land, white women are raped in the streets. You know who’s happiest about it? White supremacists because it reinforces their narrative that racism directed against blacks is justified because they’re savages that can’t function in a normal society. That’s even further reinforced by isolated cases of riots that went out of control or turned to vandalism and robbery.

      Go beyond this.

      If this needs to be a political issue, how about police brutality and complete lack of accountability? How about making this a matter of pride to the police force to purify themselves? Nobody is suggesting disbanding the police or replacing it with something else. Everyone agrees they’re necessary, it’s just that nobody’s actually talking how to best address this situation. It’s extremely convenient to politicians because it channels all the energy into pointless and fruitless discussions about racism.

    1. Your “…The point is, structural sin is a small part, not they only form, of sin. It ultimately is about our hearts. The evil in them, and what we are called to be about – not political narratives set out by others who benefit in our fights and discord…” seems to me to be trying to avoid the issue by (1) over-generalising (it’s all about sin! – which we can all agree about), and (2) creating a false ‘either/or’: If it’s about the sin in our hearts, then it’s not (or perhaps not very much) about political narratives.

      It is no accident that George Floyd was black – and, for what I know, poor. That is, indeed, about ‘political narratives’ – and about racism.

    2. Structural sin is an obvious fact and a part of Catholic teaching you deny and shout down because you defend the structure of sin that oppresses minorities and the poor.

  3. Your priest made a wearisome, pedantic point: racism is a subset of the larger category of evil. Which is true.
    But fails utterly to address the actual cause of the unrest in America today, which is racism. Racist policing, to be specific.

    1. I think we need to talk about *elitism*. At the end of the day, the elite white people will brown nose wealthy brown people to prove how un-racist they are. Do I need to say they aren’t being honest…

      By the same token, brown people, who are utterly grateful because they have escaped their own brown “caste” system will say *anything* to their white overlords to prove their gratitude.

      The brown people, already many generations in with white power exerted over them aren’t such ready dupes.

    2. “People die of other things besides the evil I am defending, therefore the evil I defend is okay” is a standard tactic of your Cult.

      All it took was a civil rights protest for your Cult to whipsaw from “COVID IS A HOAX AND I GET TO BRANDISH GUNS IN THE STATE CAPITOL WITH MY MOB OF KOOKS OR I’M OPPRESSED!” to your phony handwringing and accusation of the oppressed.

  4. Dave – it is most certainly about race. Bunch of white guys and gals run around with guns, Invade” a legislative building, screaming at the cops, tie up traffic, threaten people because they are tired of having to care about other people and not get haircuts or eat out of go to a bar; that they have to wear masks and that is a sign of oppression and nothing happens to them Other than trump saying they are upset because their lives changed. They are still alive. . .
    George Floyd allegedly passes a counterfeit $20 and he is dead. Ahmaud Aubrey goes for a jog, stops looks at a house being built, something I have done, and he is dead. Minority folks are suffering from COVID 19 disproportionately- both in terms of death and diagnosis. Minority folks are the greatest number of essential, non-medical workers in the US. Meat plants predominantly staged with minority workers are the greatest hotspots for the virus.
    People protest Mr. Floyd’s death, which ruined his life, and trump goes into “law and order”. If you can’t see the difference wow? Please spare me the concern about masks as do many trumponians will not wear them as a sign of their freedumbs.

  5. “people like you who were calling it murder to gather and want to open up two weeks ago are silent.”

    No one I know, and certainly not Mark. I was telling people two months ago that we are going to experience a second wave of infections that will make the first look like a picnic. And why? Because I have studied both sociology and public health, with masters in both. the sheer amount of whining about “freedumbs” has been around for months. .

    1. What it never occurs to you to ask is, “Why am I so bent on defending racist injustice and murder that it never occurs to me to wonder why desperate people are willing to risk their lives to fight what I so passionately and doggedly support?” You are a dogged defender of evil.

    2. @Dave G. I absolutely am against the protests, unless: they are non-violent, if they include social distancing and masks, and every possible effort to avoid spreading this disease. But I would have to say that perhaps people considering the murder of a black man by a white cop perhaps of sufficient moral, social, religious, and political importance that they are willing to risk their lives to protest it. This is vastly different than the “right to life“ ammoseXuals who threaten violence if they can’t get a haircut, and can’t go out for a sandwich without resembling A Michael Bay movie.

      It is not the Christian way to avoid responsibility? You must know a different set of questions than I do, at least of the type that support Donald Trump, who is done nothing but avoid responsibility since he stole the office

  6. ” I would really like to have seen was Abp. Gregory standing at the door of the shrine as Ambrose stood in the Church at Milan and forbade the Emperor to enter…” For the Archbishop to have done that, he would have to have known what Trump was going to do. As far as I know, he didn’t learn of it before he saw it on the news. Likewise the K of C, though I am troubled by the deafening silence of that organization.

  7. For starters Blacks are 2.5times as likely to be killed by cops then whites – https://www.statista.com/chart/21872/map-of-police-violence-against-black-americans/. In 2015 police killed 104 unarmed Blacks. In 2019 police killed 1099 pro-Keuka, 24% of them Black, while Blacks make up about 13% of the population. Both from https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/. Your stats, that you requested.
    I love they were obnoxious and operating within the boundaries of the law, but, wait for it they were Maskless and in a large group. In fact they see wearing masks as a restriction of their freedoms. So I guess it is ok for white folks yo behave like that, in your mind.
    Interesting I have seen no one supporting riots – not the looting, not the arson, not the killings – none of it. I have seen people supporting the protests and protesters. I have heard many people say that there us an extreme risk in not wearing masks to protest – including all public health officials. So please post the link about doctors being “unconcerned”.
    You keep going back to the COVID 19 “issue”. Many if not most I’ve the white obnoxious protesters said it wasn’t s big issue. The trump agree. So please be careful to condemn all who don’t wear jacks rather than “cherry-pick” a group.

  8. I simply reject the idea that racism stands alone as the all defining sin that Jesus can’t even forgive, which is how it is presented.

    Why are you rejecting a claim that no one has made?

    1. Cool! So you can reject an idea that you infer from what someone says ‘sounds like’ … something that you agree they didn’t say.

      I do not think that anyone is saying that racism is an all-defining sin. I don’t think anyone sounds like they are saying that. What people are saying – which seems fairly obvious to most of us – is that racism is a deeply-rooted sinful structure in America, and is what all the protests are about. Despite any generalisations about how we are all sinners, what is going on is about racism. The United States fought a civil war 150 years ago. “States’ rights” was the excuse; racism was the fundamental cause. That disease was not cured by that war. It continues today. Everybody knows this.

    2. No, I say that it does no good to insist we’re not saying it’s some all defining unforgivable sin when we act as if it’s an all defining, unforgivable sin.

      Mate, no one is acting as if it’s an all defining, unforgivable sin! Where in the world do you get that?? Everyone is saying that this business – and, indeed, a deeply entrenched sin in the American communal psyche – is racism. That is not saying anything about ‘all defining’, much less ‘unforgivable.’ God knows, America – and my country, New Zealand – has many deeply entrenched sinful habits. But this business is about racism.

    3. @ Dave G.

      I keep reading what you have to say about racism being the Unforgivable define in sin, a point that no one has made except you, and I can’t help but keep thinking that you were missing the point. Especially when it comes to the confederacy, the reasons the Civil War was fought, and your dead giveaway use of the term “our heritage”.

      I would say that you’re going in for what-about-ismand bothsiderism big-time.

      Here’s my take on the propensity in the south to display statue celebrating confederate civil war heroes. Roberty Lee was considered a very honorable man, a very good man, in his time. And even though he took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, he headed the military part of an armed revolution against the government of the United. Whatever honor Lee had, he committed treason against this country, And was responsible for the deaths of many of his fellow countrymen on both sides of the war,

  9. Are there rules here for comments – have one in moderation? Can we embed links? How do we respond to a thread that extends? Thanks

    1. The way to get around the inability to continue a conversation is just to comment with the heading of “This is in response to so-and-so”. It’s a lame-o system, but I can’t say I miss the Patheos bot.

      1. Thanks, I’ll try that Ben. Right now any reply I try to make under *any* name says “Leave a reply to Neko”

  10. Dave – if you want all those stats, use the Google Machine. Like you I was a teacher, and I would provide a starting place, which is what I did, and then say you do the research. Please provide some sort of link to assertions about folks supporting the looting and do on. A random person or two is not really enough. Again please provide a link to the medical professionals saying that the protests are supported. All the medical professionals I have read ir heard have offered deep concerns about the protests and the spread of the virus.

    1. (It’s impossible to respond in the right spotO
      @Dave,
      In response to the statistic that 42% of cop killings are committed by black men–this means that white men are killing more cops. What if you looked at poverty and lack of education before skin color?

      50 years ago, even a *rich* black man couldn’t own property in our our neighborhood in Santa Barbara. To this day, I don’t believe a single black man owns a home there. Oprah might be the only black woman that owns property in the neighborhood of Montecito.

      In addition to systematic discrimination, consider the fact that we only recently discovered that *trauma* is carried on the genes, when studying survivors of concentration camps and their children.

  11. Dave,

    I doubt you want to talk to me about it, but I used to exist, embattled in your position, until the people I protected (the beancounters) finally turned on me for being guilty by association.

    I can tell you all about it if you want to hear it..I think I could write and write and write, but I don’t want to because it is too disgusting and upsetting.

    Right now, I just want to exist without feeling any rancor. I lied to *myself*, so I wouldn’t have to face what was happening.

    “All lives matter” makes sense, and while true, it’s a terrible diversion from the haters and the abusers.

  12. Six self-congratulatory, straw-stuffed graphs of deflection to say political rhetoric is political rhetoric.

    And I don’t believe for a minute you were ever a good liberal agnostic.

      1. Thank you. I need to learn the new rules – just as I got discus minus the nanny sort of “learned”.

    1. @ Dave G.

      “Oh, and I was quite the agnostic and the liberal, until people like you helped open my eyes to the reality. Just saying.“

      Well, that caught my attention. First, there was the reference to “the left“. And then something that sounds like a number of people I used to encounter who would say, “I was always very supportive gay people until they started doing X. But now I see them for who they really are, and now I am against them. ”

      My usual response was, “I don’t believe that for a minute. If you knew gay people, Or anything about the subject, or what the gay rights movement is ACTUALLY about, in general, you wouldn’t be making statements like that, or believing stuff like that, or taking the behavior of an isolated person and claiming it is typical of all gay people everywhere..“

      Your story is you used to be a firmly committed liberal and agnostic— but then someone like Neko was mean to you, and you realized that the causes you supported and believed in the, the deity you were admitting MIGHT exists. Well, suddenly, there you were, a committed liberal and agnostic no more, but a conservative and a true believer.

      There wasn’t philosophy or science, just feelings?

      Ok.

    2. I’m not calling you a liar because I disagree with you; I’m calling you a liar because I think you’re a fake. I mean, what kind of zombie writes reams of commentary denying that racism has anything to do with police brutality against black people (and just to make it more nauseating, wraps it up sanctimony)? A troll, that’s who.

  13. @Dave, For now, I’ll just say this (I’m homeschooling one of my most severely dyslexic kids, and have a bike graduation 🙂 today!)

    We have pretty good genes on both sides of the family–lots of people with “Dr.” in front of their names…but Dyslexia is a huge challenge running through our genes like a strong thread. The reason I’m throwing that out there is that it *forced* me to get off my high horse, and read up on the subject–and it IS such a fascinating subject that it helped me to be more open to considering other kinds of learning interruptions.

    At first I thought that they were just trying to make me feel better when I brought in my seven-year-old to the dyslexia learning center(about 1997). There were posters on the walls with the names of famous people who had a difficult time learning to read and write, and I hey–I had to admit that they were all great and even brilliant thinkers. There was another poster on the wall that said something like “never trust a brain surgeon that can spell!”

    My mother likes to brag that I could read at *two*–well–my kid was a disappointment who blew all of our expectations. He couldn’t read in the 4th grade. But wait–WHY was he able to read at the top 1% of the nation by the 11th grade? (great at Math also). What is my point?

    –*intervention*–*good school districts*–people who not only cared, but saw us–him! through the whole humiliating process. By the time my last kid, also a Dyslexic and a “lefty” came along, I was like “cool, she’s extra intelligent.”

    One of my middle children who happens to be just a middle of the road Dyslexic (wasn’t severe enough to qualify for intervention) once told me about a theory out there that he’d read about,which proposes that skill in reading and writing can be linked to the amount of generations that our forbearers –surprise! have been readers and writers. Genes. It has *nothing* to do with intelligence. Curiously, over time, when I have tried to explain this idea to others they –surprise!–called me a “bleeding heart liberal”. That pushed me along enough to realize that some people don’t *want* to account for learning differences. They actually prefer old stereotypes. They hold their grudges and superiority complex close to their heart. I’ve heard them stubbornly insist that white Europeans are intellectually superior. (My husband makes more money than my white siblings, but they AND their young upstart children STILL think this country, and MY family is somehow doing him a favor.

    So, *now*: Allow me to test you on the subject. Why do you suppose my husband and I choose to live in one of the most EXPENSIVE zip codes in the nation?

    If you guessed that we are trying to provide our mixed race children the absolute best learning opportunity we can *afford*, you guessed right! Ding! Ding! Ding!–Good public schools.

    Our older children–all accomplished in their respective fields, (as higher income earners) are well on their way to *giving back* by providing many poor brown AND *white* people with a social safety net. They are proud of being tri-racial, and *grateful* for all of the opportunities that have been given them. If we discriminate against *anyone* it’s lazy WHITE people with college degrees that think the world OWES them something on a platter just because they are *WHITE*. A couple of weeks ago someone told my husband that HIS relatives came over on the Mayflower. I knew my husband wouldn’t say anything back, so I answered, “well HE is 20% indigenous American. He’s also African: Nigeria, Mali, and Ivory Coast –Clearly a son of slavery. Guess who took *his* father under their wing?–The Jesuits. My FIL died with TWO advanced degrees in Engineering from UCLA and the College of London. Why did the Jesuits give him the boost he deserved? –Because they could *think* like Catholics. This came naturally to them.

    P.s. My homeschool student is nowhere to be found :/

  14. To Dave about stats. Your constant refrain that you want specific numbers is tiresome. The fact is that Blacks are more apt to be killed by cops than whites. Who is doing the killing in terms of color of the cops is a deflection – we as a country have elevated cops to a semi-militaristic force. That is part of the problem. The larger part is what you refuse to recognize – the killing of Mr. Floyd was a spark to a drier and drier kindling. Blacks are disproportionately affected by the virus; Blacks make up the largest chunk of folks considered essential who are not medical personnel; Blacks have lower access to quality health care; they have less access to quality education. Mr. Floyd was a spark. Yes, it was a terrible spark, but it was the spark.
    The response to the protests, NOT the looting, stands in stark contrast to what occurred when whites were/are protesting the “lockdown”. The inability to get a haircut, go to a bar or out to eat us nothing compared to struggling to eat, to find health care, get an education are nothing.

    1. You are missing what I am saying – Mr. Floyd’s death was a spark in overly dry kindling. It really doesn’t natter the color of the cops doing the killing of Black folks -the joy is cops are doing it. They are doing it with impunity. I am saying that our country has a major sin racism – it is systemic, it is de facto, it is indirect -it is the US.
      Rather than focus on cops killing Blacks, I would urge us to examine how our society, our structured keep Blacks relegated to the “back of the bus”. Rather than rail against the demonstrations, which in terms of public health are beyond problematic we should ask why dies our society look at folks who work in grocery stores, for example, as less than important, and recognize that many of these folks are Black and/or minority. Rather then be “sparky” about who has said what about the protests, and I have yet to find public health officials supporting the protests- supporting the protesters yes and what they are protesting, but not supporting the actions, we need to find ways to move our society to a place of equality.
      I am worried about the protests as well – my two daughters are labeled as essential workers, one us s social worker who us pregnant and works with homeless kids; the other works for Hospice. Our son is a cop in Florida, a front line worker, do I get your worry. My wife and I are both kart of the vulnerable population and our big trip us grocery shopping and Sitting on our porch. So I get the worry. I am beyond terrified with rapid reopening and reading test cases are going up, and mist likely will spike after this time. I am terrified that our 7 year will get the Multisystrm Inflammatory Syndrome. So I get your worries in spades. What I don’t get us your refusal to recognize the manner in which, the US social, political, judicial and economic Systems are stacked against the Blacks.

      1. I think your answer to Dave is spot on. He’s pulling a jack, just asking questions that have no real answer to them. What he’s missing is that cop should not be killing anyone unless it is a live shooting type of situation, or they need to prevent the needless death of someone else. having worked in law-enforcement myself, I am well aware that there are a lot of bad cops. I’m also aware that most cops are not bad. But if you have a situation where there are 10 bad cops who are killing people, and 2000 cops that know about it, you don’t have 10 bad cops, you have 2010. I have a great deal of respect for police officers. They have a very difficult job. But like Christians, they should be held to higher standards than those Dave is willing to apply.

        I have been predicting for several months that there is going to be a second spike, and based upon the figures from the 1918 flu epidemic, I’m predicting that it’s going to be far worse than the initial one. We already see this in an article I read in this morning‘s paper, where cases are going up in both Arizona and Florida, several weeks after they opened up. Now, people who shouldHave been acting more responsibly in the public interest are saying, “maybe we opened up too soon.” Ya think? Really? I have only one year of epidemiology, and I could tell it was a bad idea

        My husband works in a hospital, and Has to see several Covid patients every day. I remind him every day to make sure that he observes all protocols very carefully, And not to touch his face no matter how much it itches unless he’s just washed his hands.

      2. I remind our kids about being safe daily only to get, and I hope your husband doesn’t say this, “don’t worry I got it under control.” Yeah, it is a virus, and no one gas it under control. I respect the police as well; the vast, vast majority are wonderful human beings doing a next to impossible job. Yet all it takes is one of two stupid bad cops and they are all tainted – look what happened in Buffalo yesterday. Regardless of the projects, I agree, there will be a se one spike, then several waves. The Flu Pandemic is so instructive. I have no work in epidemiology, but I can do stats and thus grand reopening scheme is bound for a mess. All it takes to recognize that is common sense.
        Your comment about Florida has me do worried about our son and grandson. I do wish our “leaders” had some sense of the power of science and history. Please keep on your husband about safety; my sister-in-law had the virus and 7 weeks later she is starting to recover.

    2. @Dave,
      I don’t think anybody here feels good about the lack of social distancing at protests. I for one did not participate other than honking for small clumps of people on street corners, BUT, I *totally understand the outpouring of grief. I heard that Mr. Floyd was calling out to his long dead mother when he was on the ground. That broke my heart. When I see them carrying images of him, I know he was the son of a mother who loved him. Imagine the faces of your own sons. Imagine what you would have felt if God showed you that one of them would die in the manner of Mr. Floyd. I think that you would move heaven and earth to make sure that didn’t happen. Put your own son’s beautiful face on those placards. Look at those people grieving(forget about the messed up individuals that came out for the wrong reasons) Your own heart will be overwhelmed with grief and gratitude for their sense of solidarity to a brother. Words and arguments will seem embarrassing. Sterile. An outpouring of grief is hard to contain. Thanks be to God for people who have hearts big enough to contain grief for the other.

      Btw, that very thing–grief–is what first punctured my conservative bubble. There are several internet priests that blog, whom I would read at the beginning of Catholic blogging. It was the *brutality* of their words that initially shocked me. I remember locking horns with one of them briefly, stunned. All I could think of was, “My God! HIs heart is the size of a little walnut!” I still see his face on the New Advent site, and think, “the poor, poor man! How hellish to harbor so much negativity.

    3. @ Dave g.

      “Everyone here saying letting extra thousands die from Covid is fine for this worthy cause have yet to prove it beyond the usual ‘trust us or you’re defending racism’. “ there is absolutely no one saying that, or anything close to it. If you can’t argue honestly, please don’t argue at all. Or at least admit that you’re not engaging in an argument, but polemics.

      But in point of fact, what I have said is that I support the protests, but not at the cost of further lives lost and further strain on our healthcare system. Protest all you wish, But maintain social distance, wear a mask, and keep your hands off your face. And looting and rioting are not part of any legitimate protest.

      Here is what I wrote on Monday to our local, major metropolitan newspaper. They pretty much sums up my feelings about the whole thing. Unfortunately, they chose not to print it, because they will print my letter is frequently, but they won’t print them if they get a little too mean.

      In response to several days of riots, protests, and looting, Glorious Leader tweeted today his decision to declare that ANTIFA is a “terrorist organization“, despite three big problems. First, ANTIFA means anti-fascist, and describes Eisenhower, Churchill, and our fathers who fought against Nazis 80 years ago. Second, it is by no means obvious that the troubles are led by anyone, or comprised primarily of people either far left or far right. It’s not like those armed insurrectionists that invaded the Capitol grounds in Michigan a few weeks ago, whose far-right political posture was made quite clear.

      Thirdly, ANTIFA is a movement, not an organization. It has no recognizable leaders, no meeting place, no organizational structure, flag, finances, records, or membership lists. It also has no recognizable characteristic uniting it. It’s participants are not all young, or black, or even far left.

      I am a white, centrist, middle class man approaching 70. 50 years ago, I protested against the Vietnam war, not because I was far left, but because it was WRONG– wrong for our people, our country, Vietnam, and the world.

      So, am I a terrorist? Can you arrest us all? Because…

      I AM ANTIFA!

      1. Well stated – Dave seems to be lost in some rage state and projecting like a demon. I don’t understand that at all. I too protested the war in Vietnam, because it was wrong; just as I protested, though not in the streets the war in Iraq. I protest the trump and like you my wife and I are ANTIFA.

  15. Dave your white privilege is showing. To stats, what you presented explains why I said your drive for stats is tiresome. That is why I provided a couple and stopped. That you can’t recognize the history of the US with regard to race is sad – ask Native Americans about their lives; ask Hispanic folks about their lives; ask Black about their lived – yes the US is racist. We, as a country have to I Overcome that and it begins with recognizing the facts about the lives of those not like us.
    Your railing about the COVID virus is strange – I have not supported the protests – I am as I said scared by the activities. I have no reason to see why you are “wired” about them so much.

    1. I have no idea where or how to respond to your diatribe. You obviously have issues with the history of the US. You obviously have problems with systemic, institutional racism found in the US. You have wrapped yourself up in some cocoon that gives you profound insights. I wasn’t losing an argument with you; rather I was allowing you to expose exactly what you exposed of yourself – a sense of outrage, a sense of superiority. I never said I was better than anyone else, in fact if you were to look at the majority of my comments I admit I am not all that good. I gave learned though over the many years if my life that when people make the arguments you make they are hiding something. I bud a good evening.

    2. Dave – you have no idea what I accept or don’t accept. You have no idea about my political stance. That us more than sad, because you are making statements about me. Yes, I said your white privileged is showing – it is showing because you cannot see the subtle advantages you have. For example, you gave said you are caring for your mother, and bless you for that, but you can do that. It appears you gave the wherewithal to make that bearable. Many non-white families do not have that wherewithal, but still have to do so. Many non-white families struggle with poverty, many struggle with having yo work at essential jobs, and then come home to care for loved ones, many struggle with the lack of appropriate housing to care for their loved ones.

      You showed your white privilege with this: “ As Biden said, you ain’t black if you ain’t voting Democrat – which is what this is about. Sure there are blacks who will ride the wave: blame others, pillage, riot, loot, kill (mostly blacks in black communities) because they can just blame white people per good white liberals who continually expect the least from black Americans.” Maybe rather than try to explain your feelings away examine them.

      White privilege as was explained to me By one of my very bright students in the ethics class I taught, is the feeling that minority students Have about school. They feel they have to outperform their white peers in order tongetbthevsame grade. They feel that their work is seen as inferior when it is turned in. And I can attest that is how many white faculty members behave.

      When I read or hear people say I have Black friends I cringe. That statement us so culturally loaded that it is painful. You mention Christian behavior. Jesus never said I have a Samaritan friend, or Jewish friend – he saw as all God’s children, without distinction ir as a badge of inclusivity.

    3. Dave, if you don’t see how your denial of the systemic, institutional racism is part and parcel of the US, what else can I assume? That you in your statements you assert you prefer not to follow popular narrative… I stated I don’t know his any times that the death of Mr. Floyd, brutal and reprehensible as it was, is a spark. A spark in an already dry, ready to erupt kindling. That you in your writing fail to see that the kindling exists, and us called racism is the problem.

      White privileged by the way is all to often unrecognized by the person espousing it; in fact privilege in general hides behind anyone can do it – whatever happens to be discussed. I am examine my “life” often trying to see that I don’t intentionally or unintentionally dismiss other people’s concerns/complaints As being a popular narrative or that gee if I can do then they can.

    4. I have never watched My Cousin Vinny, so I will take your word for it. You and I disagree I think most clearly about America’s ability to look at itself and correct ourselves, had we dine do we would have an entirely different country. I base my thoughts on almost 50 years of watching our country, I almost 70, and see at best 1 step towards followed by 1/2 step back if not more. I agree with you though about the protests and COVID. As we, my wife and I live near a city that was strung out with protests for a few days, I am terrified about the possible spike and what that means when many of the city folk ‘take to the hills” In search of places to go outside. Take care and I pray you and your lived ones stay safe.

      1. What you wrote Anna Lisa was not a downer – it is an unfortunate part of life. Your comment about Mikey describe what all too often folks miss – they are persons, they have dignity, they have life and they want to live it. We need to recall and live that with them always, although it is not easy.
        Your family sounds much like my extended family. Money, appearances if money were the themes I grew up with. I was an only child, and I can’t count the number of times I heard if you weren’t here we could have done ;;;;. Here was a constant competition among my parents and aunts and uncles as to who had what. In many ways I was the “outcast” – the dumb jock, though it was basketball that allowed me to start college; I was the cousin no one wanted to hang out with Unless there was physical work to do. I do know that feeling. In fact because of life choices (not always good let me hasten to add) I Have had little contact with my extended family in the past 40-50 years. I couldn’t stand their attitudes and they couldn’t understand mine.
        I hope your 20 somethings were ok after the protests. Take care Anna Lisa, you are living the life that God has planned for you – that is what the priests, yes we were married at a concelebrated mass/ceremony, told my wife and I. I believe that for all of us.

    5. Dave G wrote:

      Police brutality? In our society, what do we expect?

      Well, there you have it. I mean, mass shooting and suicide, so when a black guy tries to pass a counterfeit bill, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?

      This is the logic from one who has seen fit to lecture liberals at tedious length on race (or not-race, as the case may be). Because American exceptionalism.

  16. @Dave G said:

    Everyone here saying letting extra thousands die from Covid is fine for this worthy cause have yet to prove it beyond the usual ‘trust us or you’re defending racism’.

    Liar. No one said this.

    1. I’m sorry. Maybe ALL CAPS will work? Dave G. wrote:

      Everyone here saying letting extra thousands die from Covid is fine for this worthy cause have yet to prove it beyond the usual ‘trust us or you’re defending racism’..

      Please block quote the person here who’s said anything like this. You can’t, because no one has. You made it up to boldly defy it.

      If you’re not an on-the-books, by-the-playbook troll you do a dandy impersonation of one.

    2. “ So folks here are saying if people gather in mass gatherings to protest, which people here seem to be supporting, it won’t result in the deaths of thousands? No big deal?”

      Nothing that this LIBERAL said. Quite the opposite.

  17. @ Dave G: “Why can’t all you white liberals be more like my rich black friend?”

    Really?

    There are more straw men in your screed than anyone has the time to address, which of course is the point.

    1. “ Oh, and you broke a minor progressive rule back there. As a good liberal, you’re first supposed to call me an idiot for failing to conform to leftist dogma. If I don’t toe the line, then you call me a liar and attack my character. If that doesn’t work then you are free to call me a Nazi, racist, homophobic bigot, Islamaphobe, misogynist, or any combination thereof”

      You have a whole story you are telling yourself of what we “liberals” are supposed to be doing— well not a script so much as a caricature of an army of straw men. At yet you claims that is what we “liberals” are doing to conservatives. I guess we should never quote your own words back to you.

      Or, since that is the story, you’re tellin* yourself, then why are you here?

    2. @ Dave g

      And I’ve been watching it for 50 years. As a gay man and as an atheist, I have listened to people who should know better blaming me for every possible ill in Heterosexual society In general and in the church in particular, things that I couldn’t have had a thing to do with, that gay people in general haven’t had a thing to do with. But that never stopped anyone. I’ve been accused of hating God, Hating religion, Hating Jesus, and Hating Christians and Christianity, of being a far leftist, simply because I disagree that The Purely theological concerns Of religious prejudice should be incorporated into the civil law that governs all of us.

      And yet, even though I reject religious beliefs, I remain respectful of religion and religious people as long as they remain respectable. But don’t hand me a barrel of hate— not that you are— And expect me to pretend along with you that it is all lovely love. I can tell the difference. Don’t tell me that as a Democratic voter, I must be a financially Irresponsible enabler of the welfare state. I have argued for decades against the deficit spending that is crippling our economy, and may take the whole world down with it when the house of cards collapses. I even liked Nixon as a president for some of the things he did; I didn’t hate him because of the other things he did, I just didn’t want him to be president anymore. Don’t tell me that as an atheist, I must have no morals. Just because I don’t believe in God, does not mean I don’t believe in treating other people well, taking care of others in society, that I will molest children, or can’t be trusted around your wallet.

      These are, all of them, things I have been listening to for 50 years. I have no problem distinguishing between a principled conservative and a right wing hack. The problem is that I don’t see too many principal conservatives. What I see are people that are interested in power, money, dominion, and in the age of Trump, revenge. George will likes to cast himself as a principled conservative, and did so again in his recent diatribe against Trump and why he must be removed from office. The problem was, Georgie turned a blind eye to the tea party 10 years ago, turned a blind eye to the evangelicals barking with the devil, turned a blind eye to the hate directed it gay people in favor of Catholic dogma and theology. In the latter case, he finally admitted he was somewhat wrong. But it took him 10 years to see what was clearly in front of his face for 20- 30 years— massive deficits under Reagan, Bush and Shrub. He did find it in his heart to ignore the further deficits Mr. Obama incurred while spending us out of Shrubs depression.

      And no, I’m not saying that the Democrats are perfect. They have their faults, for sure. If A massive Blue Sweep happens in November, which it may well, I don’t see them using their advantage to pass a number of absolutely required constitutional amendments to fix the damage that the Republicans and the Democrats In general, and in particular Trump, have done. But at least they will not be passing tax cuts for billionaires at the expense of an ever ballooning federal debt, insisting that the right to bear arms of however many and of whatever type any crazy individual desires is a constitutional right, that the honorable tradition of separation of church and state is a myth, That someone’s religious beliefs should be forced on others who don’t share them, that money is speech, corporations are people, and that healthcare can easily be taken away from millions of people who need it, where we give money to foreign thugs And fighting wars we have no business being in. The Democrats will not be claiming to be the party of fiscal responsibility while maintaining a $30 trillion national debt, nor claiming to be THE ONLY party of personal responsibility, supporting a man who’s never at fault for anything he has done, ever.

      Personally, I find your condescension towards the Caricatures of liberal belief that you keep espousing to be hypocritical and self serving in in the extreme.

    3. I don’t give a shit if you conform to leftist dogma. I really don’t see how I could have been any more explicit that I take issue with your rank dishonesty and trolling tactics.

      Please spare me the parading of your African priest. Since you’re such an expert on race it seems you would know that many Africans don’t necessarily have much solidarity with African Americans. You priest clearly doesn’t know jack about this country if, as you say (and that’s a big IF), he insists that the cold-blooded killing of George Floyd doesn’t have anything to do with race.

  18. Hi Dave,
    As I type this I can hear the roar of a crowd in our town square a couple of miles away. I’m very concerned because a couple of my 20-somethings are missing. That said, (I think we talked about this a few months ago when an ugly incident of racism happened at our school..) some really great movies with good food for thought are out there, and some of the best, more recent ones that don’t disappoint are:

    1. Greenbook
    2. Black KKKlansman
    3. Harriet (no, not boring or preachy–yes, you will cry)
    4. Thirty Years a Slave

    There is a reason why Jesus told so many stories–sometimes our heart can discern the truth before two teachers of the law get together with a dog in the fight.

    Of all of us here, Andy, has dedicated a lifetime to serving the disadvantaged–people that society discards. That’s what this whole Christian experiment is about, and what in fact we will be judged for.

    “Lord, Lord, when did I see you marginalized, and written off?” I know that some of my beancounter statistics that I used to whip out– won’t wash with Jesus –even if they are true.

    1. Anna Lisa – thank you for the kind comments. I have tried to serve those folks, but my wife is the real role model. Even now she is using teleconferencing to work with parents of young kids with disabilities. I have no idea where she gets the patience to do that; though she us more than patient with me.
      I note your comments about your youngster(s) with dyslexia – I wasn’t able to read until the start of fourth grade and I guess I did ok. Our youngest wasn’t able to read or write until sometime the start of 6th grade and she is head of media communications, social media and community awareness/relations for Hospice. It takes exactly what you and your husband are – role models and educators. I hope, know your 20 somethings will be fine.

  19. @Andy
    Wow. Your wife and family amaze me.

    A couple of days ago I saw a woman get into her car with some drinks from Peet’s coffee, and her child (very autistic) began to yell and physically abuse her. My 22 and 29-year-olds witnessed it too. The kid’s Mom was so calm and kind. We looked away, not to embarrass her, but were *WOW-ed* by her grace-filled reaction.

    We all immediately thought of Mikey, our Downs nephew/cousin whom we adore. He is so funny and sweet. Even when he’s mad he yells names like “you spaghetti head!”. If his Mom crosses him he will tell her that she’s “not hot”, (he hears his cousins talking, and knows this is close to his Mom’s heart) intuitive little imp!–It’s hilarious. I think having Mikey in the family was the best thing EVER, to show us what unconditional love looks like. He absolutely softens everybody up and brings out the best. It’s a great thing to see how he brings literally nothing to the table in terms of material value, but he loves with his whole heart, and utterly adores his entire family. He is so obviously superior to us in so many ways!

    Buuuuut in general… my family–both sides. What can I say?? I wish I could brag, but for the most part I can’t. Money, bragging rights, material goods, bean counting, cosmetic surgery…uhhh…general asshole-ery seems to be a dominant theme. It’s breathtaking. Probably the best thing that ever happened to my own kids was losing everything we had in the financial meltdown last decade. It took the wind out of our sails for a while. They were forced from the bubble.

    I have to hand it to my parents. Their big family portraits with the whole lot of us–all of our families/ grandkids are simply stunning. Even service people stop and stare. Beautiful, beautiful huge family –that obviously listened to Humanae Vitae. Thank God our parents were so generous with us–so generous! (The only way we could have pulled it off) But the whole “team conservative” Reaganomics libertarianism was a terrible, terrible example. Toxic. I have a very strong hunch that there is some kind of heresy wrapped in with it all, that God likes us more than the riff -raff of the world.

    When I saw “Black lives Matter” on one of my siblings’ websites, I choked for a second but know *exactly* why he put it there. If he can look *prettier* in front of the world at the expense of a George Floyd, he wouldn’t have to even think about it. He’s the type that would vote for Trump *especially* if he campaigned to build a wall around a whole laundry list of minorities, and defunded them too. Really. My daughter calls him an “apex predator”. He’s my only brother, but he’s never told any of us that he loves us. The ethnic jokes that his kids swap with the other white supremacists in the family would make your hair stand on end. It actually reminds me of Trump and his “beautiful family” (–Frank Pavone). Only *my* family has the added bonus of being the very most catholicky catholics a Frank Pavone could muster up.

    When I eventually go back to our little home on my Mom’s property (down south), my golden brother will probably threaten me with the law again (in the name of Covid–but it has nothing to do with Covid.) He’s utterly infuriated my Dad gave us that small space on the property. It makes him apoplectic. His inner Karen has a boomer hissy-fit. The storm clouds of lawsuits will eventually gather.

    I’m sorry if this is a huge downer Andy. That people like your family exist makes me believe in the human race.I’ve come to terms with my own extended family (for the most part), and am actually pretty *relieved* I don’t have to act like things are a certain way to save face anymore. It’s quite freeing. My older kids totally GET what is going on. The MAGA weirdoes can’t fool them for 1 second because they’ve known what they are like before they could make the stupid hat! They know how the wheels turn behind their smiling, charming, self satisfied faces, *especially* when they are strolling to coffee and donuts after mass. It *is* scandalous.

  20. Hi Dave,

    Thirty years a Slave is extremely graphic, so know your tolerance level…Lupita N. the lead actress is amazing.

    I used to be way more suspicious of the Hollywood “Agenda”-so much so that I couldn’t appreciate the value of films. –altogether too scrupulous about it. I’m okay with artistic license when it comes to “true” stories. One thing that sticks out as particularly funny was this newsletter that my Dad subscribed me to. It was put out by some protestant pastor a “Rev. Wildman” :). Wildman would give a monthly synopsis of ALL of the smut that could be found on network TV and cinema. He would describe it with the most meticulous detail the lurid storylines. I realized after a while that I had started to *really* look forward to that newsletter! Scintillating little read. One of my sisters eventually asked me if I was getting the adults only newsletter from Rev. Wildman. We had a laugh attack considering how he did his fundraising, and how he explained such all consuming work to his wife and children. Lol!

    I’m reminded of Ricky Gervais and his positively irreverent and at times disgusting lampoon of Hollywood as the Golden Globes MC. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it a bit. I think it was Gervaise that had the nerve to insult the whole audience for harboring Weinstein *before* the whole scandal broke.

    Until then, I don’t think *anybody* was thinking about Hollywood as being so misogynist and backwards. I grew up hearing that The JOOS! control Hollywood, which meant something scary and antiChristian–somehow a *plot* of sorts. Believing something like that–so patently silly! ruined my ability to enjoy films as much as I could have. I regret that.

    Thanks be to God you have done charitable work here and abroad! My mother’s parents were kind of hippy-missionaries in Puerto Rico in the “30s. My mom was born in a little beach shack on stilts above the water in a tiny town there. They always loved Latin culture after that. They were staunch lifelong Democrats (Both graduated from Ohio State! 🙂 (I looked up “state with a nut mascot 😀 )

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